Celebrating National Agriculture Week 2015

National Agriculture Week is a tribute to the hard working folks who bring food, fuel and fiber to our everyday lives. All three elements are essential to the survival of human kind. That is something to celebrate! Wondering how you can celebrate? Here are just a few events or efforts you can find:

  • #FoodChat – moderated by Michele Payn-Knoper, ACF will be hosting our monthly #FoodChat conversation on Twitter celebrating National Agriculture Week, National Nutrition Month and St. Patrick’s day. Join the conversation Tues., March 17th, 8-10pmET.
  • Pay it forward! Become an individual sponsor of the AgChat Foundation! Contributions provided will assist in spreading the word about agriculture advocacy, assist in reducing conference registration fees during 2015 and support farmers and ranchers with resources such as how-to blog posts.
  • #AgProud – Join AgChat Foundation alum, Ryan Goodman as he celebrates National Agriculture Day by encourage you to share why you are Agriculture Proud! Use the hash tag #AgProud and #AgDay2015 on social media networks and connect to those who are using your products.
  • Check out the events around the U.S. which will be celebrating National Agriculture Day on Wed., March 18th

Celebrate National Ag Week! AgChat.org

#RelentlessAsYou Contest!

You work hard, right? Our newest sponsor, Valent. At Valent, they know what you go through on a daily basis and why you can be described as #Relentless. Some farm until 2am, some all night, through the rain and on a rare occasion, snow, with very little reward. As you begin prep for planting in 2015, be sure to consider why you or a neighbor are relents! Then all you need to do is submit it to win $1,000, for your community!!

Valent wants you to share your story with the world. Be sure to held on over to the Relentless As You website, where you may find all the details

March 10th, 2015 – AgChat on Antibiotics

March 10th, 2015 – AgChat on AntibioticsHow Does Ag Work With Antibiotics? There is concern expressed in the press and social media about the issues of super bugs that are evolving because of the use of antibiotics. How is the use of antibiotics in agriculture impacting the genetic changes of bacteria? What are the conversations farms have with consumers about their use of antibiotics on farms? This #AgChat looks into the conversations occurring.
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March 3rd, 2015 – AgChat on Water

March 3rd, 2015 – AgChat on WaterWater Is Life Water is certainly a necessity. And, the variety of ways water is used is vast (example: water in beer making). Water quality and availability is a concern by many, especially when thinking into the future 15 or 20 years out. Within the USA, water use, availability, and quality cause contention amongst many stakeholders and stresses the systems in place for everyone. What does the future of water hold? This #AgChat on Water highlights some of the issues and insights into water in agriculture.

Participating in this chat were Aubrey Bettencourt (@AubBettencourt) with the California Water Alliance (@CAWaterAlliance), and Caroline McKinney with Trimble Agriculture (@Trimble_Ag). They offered insights on their view of water and some of the solutions being taken by people and organizations.

This chat was sponsored by The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (@NIAA_comm) and their Annual Conference March 23-26 in Indianapolis, on the topic of water. Learn more about the #AgWater2015 conference [link] and register to attend [link].

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Powerful Voices Set Tone for ACF’s PNW Agvocacy Conference

In the news…

The AgChat Foundation will host the 2nd Annual Pacific Northwest Regional Agvocacy conference at 2014 Northwest Agvocacy Conference - learn more about the 2015 event at www.AgChat.org/PNWNorthern Quest Resort and Casino in Spokane, WA, April 27-28. Attendees who register before March 20th will receive an early bird discount. The Foundation, known for providing high-quality, agriculture advocacy training to farmers, ranchers, agribusiness professionals, media and educators, will once again deliver a selection of sessions focusing on strengthening online relationships while fostering offline communications with consumers.

The conference will open with motivational keynote speaker, mom and North Dakota agvocate, Katie Pinke. A household name for bridging common ground in even the most difficult conversations, Pinke will share her experiences, purpose, insight and set a tone for understanding on all sides of the kitchen table.

Attendees can expect to learn about tips, strategies and hacks for efficient advocating and utilizing community to share their farm and ranch stories via Instagram and Pinterest. Emphasis will be placed on building communication when interacting with detractors or facing crisis situations. Additionally, they will be provided hands-on training for blogging, Twitter and other social media platforms. The event will offer the experience to network with fellow farmers, ranchers, mentors and advocates while also interacting with a consumer panel.

2014 Northwest Agvocacy Conference - learn more about the 2015 event at www.AgChat.org/PNWThe event will provide the tools which will equip all to advocate for agriculture. Keynote speaker Michele Payn-Knoper, ACF board member and author of ‘No More Food Fights,’ will close by inspiring and infusing the audience with a passion for telling the story of agriculture.

“Farmers and ranchers in the pacific northwest and all across the U.S., have a unique story to tell and we are the only ones who can tell it accurately and authentically. Attending an AgChat Foundation event will provide purpose, tools and a network for successfully communicating with consumers,” says AgChat Foundation Vice-President, Marie Bowers of Harrisburg, OR.

A complete schedule of events is available at AgChat.org/PNW and AgChatPNW.Eventbrite.com

Sponsorship opportunities will be available until mid-March. Inquiries should be sent to Jenny Schweigert, Executive Director by emailing execdir@agchat.org.

Water Conversations

Water ConversationWater Conversation March 3rd is the #AgChat on the topic of #Water. This chat is sponsored by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (Twitter: @NIAA_Comm ), whose 2015 annual conference is focused on water (conference registration)

Join in, March 3rd, 8-10pm ET with #AgChat on Twitter. Have questions? DM them to @AgChat.


Water continues to be a topic of conversation (for many year certainly). Some recent media happenings include:

  • PBS’ Water story, #EARTHWildPBS [video].
  • Dr. Attari at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (@SPEAIUB) shares consumer research on people belief about water usage [audio].
  • Via NASA, First Global Rainfall and Snowfall Map [YouTube].

Go Social in Spokane! Register for ACF’s 2nd Annual Agvocacy Conference

The AgChat Foundation will host the 2nd Annual Pacific Northwest Regional Agvocacy conference in Spokane, WA, April 27-28, 2015. The Foundation, known for providing high-quality, agriculture advocacy training to farmers and ranchers across the globe, will once again deliver a diverse selection of sessions focusing on strengthening online relationships while fostering offline communications with consumers.
Attendees of the 2013 AgChat Foundation conference in Portland, OR, gather outside Portland's urban farm. www.AgChat.org

Since the inception of the Foundation in 2010, the mission has been to provide training to as many U.S. regions as possible. Therefore, no two trainings have been repeated in a region. However, due to positive feedback and requests received following the success of last year’s event, farmers and ranchers from the pacific northwest will again have the opportunity to learn from top agvocacy experts.

In 2014, Datassentials and Bayer CropScience conducted a study which concluded that 94% of American consumers would like to speak with a farmer or rancher. The same study indicated that 36% of the population trusts farmers and ranchers more than scientists, nutritionists, government agencies, companies engaged in farming or agriculture, even social media contacts outside agriculture. As the number of farmers and ranchers sharing their story grows, so will the success connections from field to fork.

“Farmers and ranchers, in the pacific northwest and all across the U.S., have a unique story to tell and we are the only ones who can tell it accurately and authentically,” says AgChat Foundation Vice-President, Marie Bowers of Harrisburg, OR.

Registration will open on Monday, February 9th with a limited-time early bird rate of $89 for farmers and ranchers; agribusiness professionals with have an opportunity to register at a discounted rate of $145.

For information pertaining to sponsorship opportunities, contact Executive Director Jenny Schweigert at execdir@agchat.org.

Registration for National Collegiate Congress Ending Soon

All good things must come to an end and sales for the 2015 National Collegiate Congress is not an exception. From now until tomorrow, Friday, January 2nd at 2pmET, we’ll be extending our two day sale which will provide students the optional day of touring Fair Oaks Farms for free when they register for the day of programming.

Why should students attend?

  • Rockstar cast of speakers such as Laura Daniels, Michele Payn-Knoper, Brooke Haney, 2015 AgChat Foundation Collegiate CongressTaylor Truckey, Mark Gale, Carrie Mess, Leah Beyer, Josh Rusk, and Elizabeth Burns-Thompson.
  • Expansive networking possibilities with fellow agriculture students from all over the United States.
  • Opportunity to meet and visit with sponsors and potential employers Dow AgroSciences, National FFA, National Pork Board, Tyson Foods, Alltech, Farm Credit Services, Charleston|Orwig, Truffle Media and Animal Ag Alliance.
  • Connect with leading experts from your demographic
  • Plenty of social time to network
  • An experience you will never forget!

Main sessions:

  • Agvocating Away from the Farm
  • The State of Agvocacy Addresses (includes reviews of advocacy at the college level and post-graduate opportunities)
  • Balancing Social with Professionalism
  • Beginning Blogging
  • Connecting with Commodity Groups
  • Student Panel including a Culinary Student, Nutrition/Dietary Student, Social Work major and general major.

What are you waiting for? Don’t forget this is our last sale and your last opportunity to save before registration closes.

REGISTER NOW – http://agchat.rocks/indy/

December 16th, 2014 – AgChat FoodChat Combo: Holiday Ag – Holiday Food

Holiday Ag - Holiday FoodHoliday Ag and Food This special combination #AgChat and #FoodChat brought together the holiday conversations of food and reminded us that agriculture never stops on the holiday.
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12 Days of Christmas Sale: Agvocating Away from the Farm

Many moons ago, I set foot on the Illinois State University campus as a freshman without 2015 National Collegiate Congress 12 Days of Christmas sale - http://agchat.rocks/indy/a decided major or clear vision for what I wanted to be when I grew up. Despite having many interests and big ideas, I wanted to meet new people and explore all my options. The sky was the limit. Or, at least I thought it was.

That first semester was tough. Living in a dorm, many of the other students, primarily from the Chicago area, found Bloomington/Normal, IL, a small town with few services and options. They couldn’t comprehend that I had attended a high school which was miles from the nearest town. The icing on the cake was when I learned one friend was scared to visit my home because of the corn in the fields. Corn? Really?! I felt that I had been deemed primitive and my lifestyle was misunderstood. The kicker was that even though I had clocked many, many days in the field with my corn geneticist mother, I didn’t even grow up on a farm. How were those kids adjusting?

Long story short, I quickly clung to what I knew and enrolled in agriculture courses with friends I had grown up with or 4H friends from around the state. We weren’t adjusting to new friends we were headed back to the status quo, keeping our stories to ourselves and shaking our heads at others.

Let’s be honest. In hindsight, the approach was more than counterproductive – it was horrible. Let’s fast forward 15 years – sadly some of the same challenges such as getting kids out to farms, still exist. However, with the advent of social media, the playing field has changed tremendously. What’s more, there are a number of high-quality agvocates who are utilizing their blogs and social media channels and bringing the farm to the dorms.

During the 2015 National Collegiate Congress blogging and social media extraordinaire, Brooke Haney of RuralGoneUrban.com, will make a case for why the collegiate demographic should be agvocating away from the farm. She is super smart and will be sharing her wicked creative ideas on how to engage and connect other students to your farm story. You might be able to take this gal off the farm but you’ll never be able to take the farm from her story. I can’t wait to hear her present “Agvocating Away From the Farm.” A must-watch for all college students!

Did you know we are celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas by offering 12% off the programming portion of the 2015 National Collegiate Congress. We are also throwing in $15 off the National conference registration which will be held in November 2015!

Register today! 

written by Jenny Schweigert

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Jenny serves as the AgChat Foundation Executive Director while helping manage her family’s Jenny Schweigert - AgChat.org photo courtesy of Keiser Photography https://www.facebook.com/KeiserPhotographysmall hobby farm and in-laws dairy farm in central Illinois. In addition to AgChat.org, she can be found blogging about life on the farm, Jersey dairy cattle, hunting and her boys, all at TheMagicFarmHouse.com.